Busy Day Fuel – Southwestern Tuna Quinoa Salad Two Ways!

5:15 am –  alarm clock, grab breakfast, run, shower, see three kids off to school, check emails, make work phone calls, start laundry, research and writing for client, leave for errands, hit the gym, eat lunch, grocery store, pick up kids from school, check mail, return emails, make more phone calls, go over kids homework, pick up clutter, make recipes, style photos, take blog photographs, chauffeur to sports practice and boy scouts, make dinner, pick up from band practice, finish laundry, pack next day’s lunches, go over family’s schedule, check emails, social media, talk to husband, play with dog, make a snack, sleep  – 11 pm (hopefully).  

alternative fish tacosOkay, so you can see I don’t usually have a lot of time for long, leisurely meals.  Normally, I am scarfing down breakfast, lunch and dinner quickly while standing up at the kitchen island or on the go. While my kids always get a nutritious, sit-down dinner before their nightly activities, my plate of food often gets pushed down the priority list while I wash the dishes, talk to them about their days and tackle the remainder of my  frenzied, gotta-get-out-the-door checklist.  Oh, if I had a dollar for every artistically-plated meal I’ve dumped into a Tupperware container to eat it in the car  . . . I’d have enough money to get the deluxe car detailing package that would remove crumbs from the nooks and crannies!

Maybe the whirlwind of life is why I love salads so much – by design, everything is meant to be jumbled up together – it’s not always pretty, but it’s productive!  Salads can be made ahead of time without worry of reheating and will wait patiently in the fridge until called into service. A big hearty salad with all the fixings is also the standard fare for my late-working, non-cooking husband.  To keep the love alive with my salads, I mix up the combination of dressings, fruits and vegetables, lean proteins and extras like cheeses, nuts, grains and more – there a gazillion variations and I never get bored (this seems like an analogy for my life).

quinoa tuna saladAn easy and tasty protein that often tops my salads is tuna. I always keep a stockpile of  Bumble Bee® Tuna in the pantry and it has saved me from the “hangries” on many occasions with no-cook, no clean-up, super nutritious convenience.  I’m a fan of the single-serve, 2.5 ounce pouches of the Bumble Bee® Premium Albacore Tuna and Light Tuna because they don’t require a can opener or messy draining, making them oh-so workable in a lunch box.  But, if you’re used to the traditional cans, don’t worry, Bumble Bee® still makes those!

If you need a quick and easy dinner idea, check out my Fiesta Tuna Quinoa Salad Recipe  —  it can be served two ways! First way is to serve in a bowl as pictured above and get your protein fix with a spoon – did you know that 2.5 ounces of the Bumble Bee® Premium Albacore Tuna has 17 grams of protein and the quinoa adds even more to the mix! Red quinoa and tuna make a snappy pair and all the healthy veggies and southwestern citrus dressing will make you want to jump up, stomp your boots and shout “Ole!”  Don’t be scared that there are a lot of ingredients, it’s super easy to put together — chop, chop!

The second way to serve this healthy salad is to fill romaine lettuce leaves with this tasty tuna quinoa salad and eat them wrap-style. If you’re looking for more lunch box ideas, easy dinner recipes or other healthy meal inspiration, check out the Bumble Bee® collection of custom tuna recipessouthwestern fish lettuce tacos

Fiesta Tuna Quinoa Salad Recipe

  • ½ teaspoon sea salt
  • 1 teaspoon ground cumin
  • 1 ½ teaspoons ground chile pepper
  • ½ teaspoon ground cinnamon
  • ¼ cup olive oil (divided)
  • 1 ½ cups red quinoa, rinsed
  •  15 ½ -oz. can black beans, drained and rinsed
  • 1 cup quartered grape or cherry tomatoes
  • 1 cup frozen corn kernels, thawed
  • ½ cup diced red bell pepper
  • ½ cup diced red onion
  • 1 tablespoon diced fresh jalapeno
  • ¼ cup sliced green onions (bulb and tops)
  • ¼ cup chopped fresh cilantro, plus sprigs for garnish
  • 1 large avocado, cubed
  • 2 (5-oz) pouches Bumble Bee Albacore Tuna or Light Tuna (or four 2.5-oz pouches)
  • 1/4 cup fresh orange juice
  • 1 ½ tablespoons fresh lime juice
  • 2 teaspoons minced fresh garlic
  • 2 teaspoons honey
  • ½ – 1 teaspoon Sriracha sauce (depending on heat preference)
  • Extras (optional): lime wedges, cilantro sprigs and romaine lettuce leaves
  1. Combine 1 tsp. salt, the cumin, coriander, and cinnamon in a small bowl.
  2. In a 3-quart saucepan, heat 1 Tbs. of the olive oil over medium-low heat. Add the salt, cumin, chile powder and cinnamon; stir well and saute for 30 seconds to make flavors bloom.
  3. Add quinoa to spices, stir again for about 30 seconds. Add 2 cups water and bring mixture to a boil; reduce to a low simmer, cover, and cook until the quinoa for about 20 to 22 minutes or until water is absorbed.
  4. Remove pot from heat and place clean dish cloth between lit and pot; let sit for about 4 to 5 minutes. This will help absorb remaining moisture and keep quinoa from getting sticky. Let quinoa cool to room temperature.
  5. While quinoa is cooling, combine the black beans, tomatoes, corn, peppers, jalapeno, green onions, and chopped cilantro in medium bowl. Add citrus juices, remaining 3 tablespoons of olive oil, garlic, honey and Sriracha sauce. Stir until coated. Mix in cooled quinoa, tuna and avocado; stir gently until combined.
  6. To serve, place in bowls or lettuce leaves and garnish with fresh cilantro sprigs and lime wedges. Note: this dish is excellent made the day before as flavors have more time to mingle together.
  7. Serves 4.

Do you have any favorite tuna recipes?  Please share a description or link in the comments!

I was selected for this opportunity as a member of Clever Girls Collective and the content and opinions expressed here are all my own.

Fast Chicken Spinach Parm Panini & 8 Back Stretches for Flexibility

Quick Chicken Parm Sandwich

I would say this recipe is a grilled cheese sandwich for grownups, except the kids love to have ‘em for a super-speedy weeknight meal too!  For added convenience, I’ve used a pre-breaded chicken tender from the freezer section at the market, but you can do this step the old-fashioned way if you have an extra hour –  and, if you such a surplus of time, can you please come over? I have a list of chores to share with you!

Making panini for the family is always a crowd pleaser — everyone can customize a sandwich to suit their tastes. No cheese, no problem. Extra sauce, add it on! One thing I do insist on though is the kids make their panini sandwiches with whole grain bread. I was shocked to find out that a mere 3 percent of children and teens and about 8 percent of adults are eating at least the recommended three servings per day. Whole grains provide an abundance of vitamins and fiber and have been linked to a reduced incidence of heart disease, diabetes and other health concerns. Even though I’m not a huge grain eater, I always make sure that I’m getting biggest benefit for my body when I do – and that’s by eating whole grains over white “enriched” grains.


I created this panini recipe for Litehouse Foods and you can check it out on their blog. It uses their Opadipity Greek Yogurt Spinach Parmesan Dip, a protein-packed, lower-calorie dip that works great in recipes and is just plain yummy to dip vegetables into.

vegetarian wrapsIf you’re looking for a packable lunch or quick dinner idea, my recipe for Roasted Veggie Wrap rolls up the power of plants into a delicious, nutritious meal.


If you roast a big batch of veggies, you can enjoy this recipe for lunch and then keep the leftovers in the fridge for a last-minute supper later in the week.





bridge yoga thefitfork

Enjoying some improvements with back flexibility!

Even though I’ve been super rushed, I’ve been making time in the morning to work on the flexibility in my back. As a kid, I used to be very bendy, but fast-forward several decades and several kids, the range of motion in my back had left and gone elsewhere – but, I’m happy to say that with some consistency in stretching (only a couple minutes per day), I’m getting my bendable back back!  Check out these 8 Back Stretches for Flexibility:

how to get a more flexible back with stretching

  1. Child’s Pose: Sitting back on heels, roll torso forward bringing forehead to floor and lowering chest to knees as much as possible. Keep arms extended forward.
  2. Cat-Camel Stretch: On hands and knees, alternate between slowly arching and rounding back.
  3. Upward Facing Pose: On back, pull knees up to chest, grab with arms. Rock slowly back and forth.
  4. Bridge: Lie on back with knees bent, feet hip-distance apart and flat on floor. Inhaling, press into feet, lifting hips toward ceiling. Hold as long as possible.
  5. Torso Twist: Sitting with one leg extended forward, the other bent up toward the chest. Turn torso toward bent knee, grasping to gently stretch back. Repeat on other side.
  6. Downward Facing Dog: With hands and knees on ground, press backward raising knees and lifting tailbone to ceiling. Keep weight on shoulders and then gently push heels toward floor to stretch hamstrings.
  7. Seal Pose: Laying on stomach with legs together, elevate head and upper torso using arms, keeping forearms off the floor and stretching spine.
  8. Scorpion Pose: From knees, rest forearms on ground shoulder-width apart. Kick up into a forearm stand, achieving balance and slowly bend at the knees, arching back and lifting head to look forward.

What do you like to throw together busy-night dinners? Do you have back tightness — what do you do to stay flexible?


Southwestern Roasted Veggie Wraps, Veggie Snacks & Workouts

You don’t have to be vegetarian to enjoy the wholesome goodness of this Southwestern-Spiced Roasted Veggie Wrap. A spinach tortilla is lightly charred on the grill (or gas burner) and then stuffed with roasted vegetables kicked up with a light dusting of cumin and chipotle chile powder. Perfect for a #MeatlessMonday meal.

roasted veggies in tortilla

Southwestern-Spiced Roasted Veggie Wrap Recipe

  • 1 medium zucchini, cut into ¼” planks
  • 1 medium summer squash, cut into ¼” planks
  • 1 red bell pepper, quartered
  • 2 carrots, quartered lengthwise
  • 2 tablespoons olive oil
  • 1 teaspoon sea salt
  • 2 teaspoons ancho or chipotle chile powder
  • 1 teaspoon cumin
  • 4 spinach tortillas
  • 1 large avocado
  • 2 teaspoon lime juice
  • 4 spinach tortillas
  • 4 ounces fresh spinach leaves
  1. Preheat grill or broiler. In large bowl, toss together zucchini, squash, red bell pepper and carrots with olive oil, salt, pepper, chile powder and cumin with oil. Place in single layer on large baking sheet. Grill or broil vegetables 4 to 6 minutes per side, turning once.
  2. Remove veggies from oven and let cool for 5 minutes; cut into long julienned strips approximately ¼ inch wide.
  3. In small bowl, mash avocado with lime juice. Spread in even portions across each tortilla, leaving a ½ rim at the border.
  4. Spread out a pile of fresh spinach on top of each tortilla. Arrange remaining filling ingredients in a row along in the center of tortilla.
  5. Roll of tortilla as tightly as possible, cut in half crosswise and secure with toothpicks if needed.
  6. If packing in a lunchbox, switch the avocado and spinach steps so that tortilla doesn’t become soggy. Serves 4.

vegetable platter

Three servings of veggies are the recommended bare minimum amount for the daily diet of an adult – are you getting enough?  Snacking on vegetables is a great way to help you meet and surpass this good health goal. this Forget about the chips and cookies; it’s so much easier to reach for a healthy handful of veggies if you’ve prepped them and have them waiting in the fridge.  Keep cut up veggies in single-serve zip-top baggies for on-the-go grabbing – I also love to make mini veggie dip cups to serve the kids after school (great for a party too).

jennifer fisher litehouse mini veggies in dip fridge 2

Oh, one last thing to mention! In a rare moment of organization, I pulled all my workouts and put them on one page that is easily accessible by the category bar under the header.  The precious minutes you save by not having to hit the search bar can be reallocated to some extra burpees. You can thank me later!

workout screen shot

“Jar” Going to Love Lunch! Ancho-Chile Chopped Chicken Salad Recipe

Genius, pure genius in a jar! I’ve been seeing these healthy-eating, eco-friendly salads splashed across the pages of my favorite food magazines, so it was only a matter of time before I had to create my own version – Ancho-Chile Chopped Chicken Salad in a Jar. The concept is simple, layer ingredients in a 2 cup capacity glass canning jar from the bottom up, starting with the most “sturdy” ingredients that won’t turn limp spitting in a bit of salad dressing and finishing with the most delicate items up top.

Perfect for lunch on the go; and that’s whether you’re stuck behind a desk or lucky enough to be picnicking after a run. While you do your thing in the morning, the salad waits patiently in the fridge or a lunch cooler. The various flavors are deliciously mingling, waiting for that final “shake up” of salad dressing just before you are ready to dig in. Eat this salad right out of the jar or spoon over a plate of baby greens if you’re feeling fancy. Not only will you be saving money by not eating out, you’ll be saving the world from the number of wasteful throwaway containers that end up in landfills.  After you’re done, just take your jar home, wash it out and start over again!

Ancho-Chile Chopped Chicken Salad in a Jar Recipe

  •  2 ounces fresh lime juice (about 1 large lime)
  • 1 ounce olive oil
  • 2 teaspoons ancho chili powder
  • ½ teaspoon cumin
  • 1 tablespoon honey
  • Salt and pepper to taste
  • 1/2 cup black beans, rinsed
  • ½ cup shredded chicken
  • 1/3 cup corn kernels, roasted
  • 1/3 cup quartered grape tomatoes
  • 2 tablespoons chopped red onion
  • 1 tablespoon shredded fresh cilantro

In a small lidded bottle (or with a bowl and whisk), make the dressing by adding the lime juice, olive oil, ancho chili powder, cumin and honey. Put lid on bottle and shake vigorously for about 1 minute to combine. Season with salt and pepper, if needed.

In 16-ounce canning jar, add the black beans. Pour 2 tablespoons of dressing over the beans. Next layer the remaining ingredients (leave about ½ to 1-inch of headroom at the top of jar. Reserve additional dressing for use on another day. Put lid on jar and refrigerate salad until ready to eat, even overnight. To serve, gently shake jar until ingredients are coated with dressing and somewhat “mixed” up.  Eat straight from jar or any other way you see fit!

Serves 1

Nutrition Information